Ivana Kosovac is a Project Manager at Bobsled.
Prime Day is a key part of the year for retail brands. It offers an “oasis” in the middle of the summer months, which can be a slow-selling time for many categories.
This is one of the biggest sale events of the year and an opportunity to increase your sales substantially in the short term, and long term to position your products higher in the Amazon algorithm by boosting the organic ranking and ratings of your products. And all the extra traffic creates an amazing opportunity to build DSP retargeting audiences for later in the year, as my colleague Ross Walker explained in an earlier blog post.
Prime Day is going to be on July 12 and 13, and now that we are 3 weeks away, it has created a sense of urgency for many brands to finalize preparation for the big day.
Now, if you haven’t started preparing yet, there are going to be some things you’ve missed the boat on. Like sending in extra inventory (that was due June 20), and setting up certain deals like coupons. But there are still some last-minute things you can do to prepare, which we’ll cover later in this post.
First, let's look at how our clients are generally approaching Prime Day this year.
How many clients will be actively participating in Prime Day?
We ran some polls among our clients to find out how they were intending to discount and run ads.
61% of brands plan to discount the same or less for this Prime Day, versus 2021.
39% plan to run the same level of discounts and promotions, 39% plan to run more promotions and discounts, and 22% plan to run less compared with Prime Day 2021.
Given that many brands will be easing up on their discounting and promotional activity this year (22% of brands will be discounting less than in 2021), this is one way that brands can stand out from the crowd if they are prepared to take a temporary hit on margins.
In contrast, most Bobsled clients intend to spend more on Amazon advertising this Prime Day.
- 54% intend to increase their ad budget versus 2021.
- 43% intend to spend about the same, while only 3% plan to spend less
Why is that the case? Even brands who aren’t running discounts or promotions can take advantage of the surge in traffic to Amazon.com, and use this larger audience to drive browsing and shopping activity. Running retargeting campaigns before, during, and after the shopping event is one way to do this. (To learn more about this tactic, check out our recent post about strategies for using Amazon DSP around Prime Day)
How does this compare to last year?
Last year (2021), about a quarter of our clients did not run promotions. (Read our 2021 Prime Day recap here.) There’s always a small subset of clients who don’t run promotions as a general rule. But last year, there were many brands that were forced to opt out of promotions.
What are the key challenges for brands?
Last year (2021) the issue was getting inventory into warehouses. Brands faced many challenges, both due to their own supply chains and because of Amazon’s issues around inventory restrictions.
But this year in 2022 it’s all about margins.
According to our poll, “Thinner profit margins” is the most common concern for brands this year (28%), followed by standing out in the crowd (26%) and limited inventory availability (16%).
Among my clients, there are many who found it difficult to give up a part of their profit margin after only recently raised their prices to account for increased COGS.
If you can’t afford to run deals, at least ensure that your product pages/storefront are in top shape. Do an audit to verify there are no problems with images or content, so that you may benefit from the increased traffic and boost conversion.
How much to discount?
The best approach is to look at your previous year’s sales data and participation in sales to estimate what this could look like, as well as category-specific sales lift. On average, we see a 4X lift in traffic and sales over this period. But this is an average among clients - some who ran heavy discounts and promoted them aggressively, and others who offered smaller discounts and didn’t do much to promote them.
What’s left to do?
At this stage, a couple of weeks out from the event, there are a few things you can do to boost your chances of a great Prime Day outcome:
- Ensure that your product pages/storefront are in top shape i.e. no problems with images/content so that you can benefit from the traffic, and boost your conversion rate.
- Consider adding a section or subpage of your storefront dedicated to the ASINs that you are running deals for.
- Always consider that you may need additional customer service time delegated after Prime Day as increased sales may mean increased issues or returns. Consider that, if a customer has to exchange the product for an, for example, different size (apparel/shoes) - how will you handle this. If they send it back and you refund them, if they want to re-order, they will not get the same discount. Work with customers to offer a replacement instead so that they are not losing out on the sale
- Schedule messages to share your deals with existing customers and followers by email and social media. This is very effective. Some brands are worried about cannibalization. But remember, 50% of US households are Prime members. Chances are they are going to be shopping on Prime Day anyway. Better that you take control of the message. Ideally, you can also set up Amazon Attribution to track this external traffic and know how effective it is for the future. Amazon Attribution also has a “Brand Referral Bonus” component which allows you to recoup some of the cost of selling on Amazon too. Learn more about this program here.
- Set up your PPC and DSP campaigns. You’re cutting it close if you’ve not yet set up advertising campaigns, but there are some last-minute things you can do. Check out this post from my colleague Ross about using Amazon DSP before, during, and after Prime Day.
Need help with your Amazon sales channel? We have a team of 60 Amazon and retail marketplace specialists like Ivana and have been working with Amazon since 2015! Learn more about our Amazon full channel management services.